Changes In La Push

Chapter Three: A Job

I left the Clearwater's at twelve o'clock the next day, which was Sunday. I drove slowly home, being extra careful due to having stayed up until very late. I had promised Leah that I would meet her in the shop on Monday, when she got off (and her brother went on) at three o'clock. We had made plans to go into Forks and do some shopping. It had been a long time since I had done the girly sort of shopping that we were going to do. Living with just your dad has some perks – they're generally easy going and you can twist them round your little finger – but it also had disadvantages – you become less feminine and more masculine. For example, I now way preferred baseball to painting my nails, or whatever. I wasn't exactly a tomboy, I love clothes, but I wasn't sissy or fussy. I liked to get stuck into things and get my hands dirty. That sounds so wrong...

At home, (it felt strange to think of the new building as home), I found that Dad had already gone shopping and had unpacked all of the kitchen stuff.

"You've been busy," I said, eyeing the pile of cookbooks that had been piled on the kitchen table. My mother and I had given them to Dad in the hopes that he would actually learn how to cook well with them...to no avail.

"I did it all last night and this morning. You'll have to help me with the lounge. And remember, you promised to do the cooking."

I gave a short, shocked laugh. "I did not! I think you'll find that I said that I would help you do the cooking! You have to at least do a bit of it."

My Dad gave me a pleading look that was supposed to appeal to my better nature. Too bad I didn't have one (mwahaha). I decided to compromise. "Fine. But you get one job...you can mix the drinks or something."

Dad looked pleased and as if he had just won World War Two. "Thanks, honey. I've brought some meat and pasta and stuff. I thought you could make lasagne or something, with some salad.

"So, first you tell me I have to cook, and now you're telling me what to cook?! Dad you could drive a saint crazy."

X

I rolled up my sleeves and gazed around the square room that was going to be the lounge. It was empty except for two couches and a big comfy chair. The hallway and kitchen outside were stuffed with all the boxes that I had just dragged there; I needed more space to decide how to position everything. I had sent Dad upstairs to sort his room out and I knew that this would mean he'd be gone for ages, given that he is completely unable to multitask and was slow anyway.

X

An hour later, I was pleased with how the room was going. I had placed all the furniture and was starting on the smaller objects that made a room look lived in. Our bookshelves that covered one wall were full, which meant that there was now space to walk around the kitchen. Dad had decided that he had finished his room (probably meaning that he couldn't be bothered to do anymore work) and was 'helping' me make the lounge look presentable.

"Why did you invite guests over before we'd even got the house ready?" I moaned grouchily.

Dad just shrugged, which was his way of saying that that problem hadn't occurred to him. He was such a guy.

X

After I had put the food into the oven to finish cooking, I went upstairs to change out of my old trackies that I had put on while I was tidying. I couldn't decide what to wear. I didn't want to appear too overdressed, but I wasn't sure what would be interpreted as being too casual. After far too long of trying to choose an outfit, I picked my usual trusty black skinnies and a big, graphic t-shirt. I kept my hair up in its messy ponytail because it was a warm evening and my thick hair caused unnecessary heat for me.

"Holly, they're here!" my Dad called from downstairs, excitement clear in his voice.

I checked my appearance one more time, then went to join Dad to greet Billy and Jacob.

"Come in, come in," Dad was saying when I arrived. "We're going to have dinner out back in the yard, seeing as it's such a nice evening. Is that all okay with you?"

"That sounds wonderful," Billy replied, while Jacob kept a respectful silence. From my vantage point on the stairs, I could see everything very clearly, including how Jacob winced when he lifted his arm. He rolled back his shirtsleeve and looked at his upper arm, on his bicep. His arm was the same honey tan colour all the way up (looks like someone spent time in the sun with no shirt on). In the middle of his upper arm was a circular tattoo, with a patterned centre. However, the points of the most interest on Jacob's arm were three deep scratches, which looked inflamed and sore. I made a move to come down the stairs, with the idea to help him, or at least ask if he wanted some ointment or whatever. The stair creaked and Jacob looked up to me, pulling his sleeve down quickly at the same time.

"Holly," he said, sounding quite startled.

"Hey Jacob. Are you okay?" I asked, pointing at his arm.

Jacob's eyes shot to his Dad's retreating back, where he was just going out the back door to the garden.

"Sorry...does Billy not know you're hurt?"

Jacob shook his head.

"Come here. I'm going to give you something for it. Alright?"

There was a pause. "I'm okay."

I raised my eyebrows, giving him a lethal stare.

"Fine. But I refused to be bandaged or anything like that."

I rolled my eyes. "I doubt it's that bad."

I pushed him up to the bathroom. "Sit on the bath rim," I instructed, enjoying this new found power over Jacob, who looked exceedingly uncomfortable. I found the antiseptic cream that I had been looking for. I unscrewed the lid and squirted some onto my fingertip. I turned round; about to ask Jacob to roll up his sleeve so I could put the cream onto the cut. But instead of the image I had left behind, I was now greeted with a shirtless man. There was a definite silence, that went on for too long. I mentally recovered from the shock and dragged my eyes from his chest. As I did so, I saw other cuts littered over his otherwise flawless skin.

"What the hell have you been doing?!" I exclaimed, when I saw his back too. "You look like you've just come back from the war..."

"I – I was just...riding my bike and I...fell off. That's all," said Jacob.

I smoothed some cream onto the cuts, noticing the short, sharp intake of breath that was the only indication of any pain. "You know you're not very good at lying to me."

"I'm not lying," Jacob replied, unconvincingly. "I fell off my bike."

I shrugged. "I'm sure you've fallen off your bike, but that's not how you got these beauties. You would've bruised more than anything and you must have been wearing clothes too. They would have protected you more than this. You don't have any cuts on your legs do you?"

"No. They're fine. You're right. I didn't get the cuts when I fell off my bike. I was...fighting."

I snorted. "That sounds so childish when you say it like that."

Jacob tensed up. I was tending to his chest now, so I saw how his eyes darkened too. "It's not funny, Holly."

I was silent. "Will you tell me what happened?"

Jacob shook his head. "I really can't. Not now."

"Do I know who you were fighting?"

Jacob met my eyes. "Maybe."

"Well?"

"Well what?"

"Who was it?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"Because I'm the one who is not patching you up."

Jacob sighed and didn't speak for a while. Eventually he said, "Have you met Paul?"

There had been such a long pause in the talking that I wasn't sure if that meant it was Paul he was fighting with. "Paul Keane?"

Jacob nodded. There was another gap in the conversation. "Did you like him?"

I shrugged. "I don't know...I wasn't talking to him very long." I smiled, remembering our short talk about Jacob.

Said boy noticed the grin. "What's so funny?" When I didn't reply, he frowned. "Tell me!"

I laughed, remembering that I had told Paul that Jacob reminded me of a grumpy spoilt child. He was only proving my theory right. When I stopped my giggling fit, I said, "Sorry, I was just thinking about something funny. It doesn't matter. Paul. He was nice..."

There was a strange look on Jacob's face. I thought he was about to say something, but either I was wrong or he changed his mind. The atmosphere had changed to being decidedly tense for some reason. I wanted to get away from it quickly. It seemed that every time I was alone with Jacob something awkward would happen. "...I should go down and help Dad get dinner ready."

I had decided that this whole bathroom chat was too much to bear.

X

"Holly, this is delicious," said Billy, giving me a sunny smile. "You're a much better cook than Jacob."

I blushed at the comparison. I don't think that things could get much more awkward, but I wasn't prepared to test that theory.

"Phil, I wanted to go fishing tomorrow. Want to join me?" Billy asked Dad.

"Well...it's been a while since I went fishing...I'll probably be a bit rusty. What time do you want me over?"

I rolled my eyes at how unsubtle my Dad was being. He was obviously jumping at the chance to go out with his friend.

"Shall we say one o'clock? I'll get Tom Clearwater, Frank Reed and Lou Goldsmith along too. It'll be like the old times." Then to me, Billy said, "Have you met Jacob's friends? Not that there's that many to meet." Billy laughed to himself. "Sorry Jake."

Jacob was giving his father death glares, his face slightly red.

Billy continued. "You know Leah, right?"

I smiled and nodded. "Yeah, she's great. I've been round at her place. And Embry's cool too."

Billy nodded. "His father, Lou, used to be one of your Dad's friends too. And Quil's father, Frank. It's funny how our generation were all friends and your generation are too."

I agreed, but saw the odd look Dad, Billy and Jacob all gave each other. I got the feeling that none of them thought that it was very odd at all.

"What was Dad like when he was young?" I asked Billy after a while. Jacob and Dad were talking about Jacob's job in the garage on the High Street.

Billy thought a moment. "Hmm. He was pretty popular. He had lots of girls after him, y'know. But he only had eyes for your mother." Billy's tone had slightly changed. It wasn't exactly bitter, but it might've been regret? "He was really sporty too. There wasn't a man in the town who was faster than your father or could out throw him in baseball. Yeah. Phil was quite the talk of the town. If he had stayed here, he could've gone on to do great things. But he wanted to marry your mother so bad, he moved half way across the country to get her."

"Why didn't he just ask her to live with him here if his life was so great?"

Billy sighed. "Ah, Holly. Back then, in those days, things were different. Lissie wasn't from these parts. She wouldn't have fit in. Your father knew that."

"What do you mean? I'm not really from around here, and I seem to be doing alright."

"La Push is in your blood. You can't escape it! At first, to everyone, La Push seems dull, boring, dead. But when you grow up and learn a bit more, you'll realise that La Push is and will always be your home. One day you'll need La Push and La Push will definitely need you."

I laughed, thinking Billy was joking. "Don't be daft. What good would I be in La Push?"

Billy raised an eyebrow and shook his head. "You would be surprised. But I can see you being here a long time, young lady. And you're important. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You're needed here. Remember that."

I was getting slightly creeped out. Billy was turning into some prophet right in front of my eyes. I decided to bring Dad into the conversation to rescue me if I needed it.

"Dad, tell Billy about your new book."

This shows how desperate I was. To get my Dad to talk about his writing was a very desperate move. He wrote thrillers and crime novels that were ridiculously complicated and convoluted. They took forever to explain and were long. Don't get me wrong, they were brilliant and they were good enough to earn Dad enough money to support us and have plenty to spare, but they really weren't my cup of tea. Especially when he insisted on telling me every little plot twist and character profile.

Anyway, that kept Billy (and Dad) quiet for a while, giving me time to think about Billy's words. Why would La Push need me? Why was I so important? I racked my brains for an explanation, but I couldn't find one. Billy had only known me for a few days and I hadn't spoken to him that much. He didn't know, so how could he possibly be predicting the future?

X

Billy and Jacob left at ten. There was still some dusky light outside, but I told Dad that I was going to bed. I was still exhausted from staying over at Leah's place. I lay on my bed, looking up at my ceiling. I had covered the ceiling with the fluorescent, glow in the dark stars that Mum had given my when I was little and scared of the dark. She said that whenever I needed her, I could look into those stars and find her. I missed her a lot.

X

Over breakfast, Dad said, "You should get a job."

"What?"

"You need a job. Like Jacob's at the garage. You're going to get bored around here if you don't have something to do. Most of the kids around here have one. In fact, doesn't Leah work in her parents' shop? It would be good for you."

"Yeah, she does. But why are you asking me all this now?"

"I heard on the grapevine that Mr Sharp was looking out for anyone who wanted to help him in the garage store. Just as a receptionist / organiser type job. Apparently it gets quite busy in the garage with just him and Jacob. Lots of the young guys have motor bikes and Jacob always ends up having to fix them."

I rolled my eyes. "So that's what you were talking to Jacob about last night."

Dad looked defensive. "Jacob suggested the job."

"He did?"

"Yeah, sure. He said, 'If Holly's looking for a job, then Johnny Sharp was looking for someone'. So I told him I'd run it past you."

"I don't know much about bikes. I can drive one, yes, but ask me to name any of the parts and I'd be stuck."

"You don't need to know anything about them. You just need to take calls and deliver stuff and sort out timetables. You'd be fine at that. And you forget that you'd be earning money."

I realised that the job sounded easy enough. I needed to find out more though, so I told Dad that I would go check it out with this Johnny Sharp later. I brightened, thinking I might call on Leah too.

X

I made my way to the High Street just after lunch. There were more people out and about than last time I had been there. The whole style of the town was much like my own – a combination of indie, American Indian and punk. The garage was open, I could see the door open from where I was, so I didn't hurry. Instead, I called in at Leah's first.

"Hey," she said, from her stool behind the counter. "What are you up to?" She was keeping a watchful eye on her brother, who was cleaning around the shelves. He didn't look entirely happy about it.

"I'm going to the garage. My dad's making me get a job. Johnny Sharp wants someone to help out round there."

Leah gave me a sly grin. "Jacob works there. You two sure see a lot of each other. Is there anything I should know?"

I saw Seth look up, a curious look on his face.

"No," I said, definitely. "No, no, no. I don't know him well enough anyway. He doesn't seem to be that keen on me so it might make things a bit weird if I suddenly declared my undying love for him, don't you think?"

"Just a bit," Seth muttered. Leah shot him a look.

"Whatever. I need to do some matchmaking. You're new meat...the boys will be queuing up for you once you get yourself out there a bit. Wow, I'm making you sound pretty ho-ish aren't I? Sorry."

There was a pause.

"A-a-anyway..." I said, chickening out, "I'm just going to go to the garage then. I'll come back here after if that's okay?"

"Sure," said Leah. "Let's go to the lake again. We'll take food and some drink this time. Picnic dinner sound good?"

We made our plans and I said that this time, Leah could come back to mine. Dad wouldn't mind, I knew. In fact he'd probably sleep through all our noise.

X

The garage door was open, so I went in there rather than the administration building next to it.

Jacob was shirtless (again), on one of those trolley things underneath a raised car. He had a light sheen of sweat on his muscled torso that I thought wouldn't have looked out of place in the bedroom. I halted in my tracks, appalled and embarrassed at what I had just thought. I was scared that someone had decided that mind reading was possible. I accidentally kicked a spanner that was lying on the floor. It spun in circles, making a loud harsh noise.

Jacob looked up. "Oh, hey Holly," he said and turned his gaze back to the underneath of the car above him. "Guess your dad told you about the job then?"

"Yeah," I said. "Where is this Johnny Sharp?"

Jacob put down the tool he was holding and pushed himself and the trolley out from the car. "He's in the office. Come on, I'll take you there."

X

The office was quite small, but light and clean. There was a desk by the window, at which sat a tall, thick set man, who wore oil covered overalls. He seemed to sense me and Jacob approaching and looked up. His eyes were grey and sparkling, seeming to pierce right through me. He stood up and extended his hand to me.

"Johnny Sharp. You're Holly aren't you?"

I shook his hand, shook it and nodded. "That's right. I've heard that you have a job vacancy going?"

X

Sometime later, I was familiarizing myself with the documents and computer at the garage office. It was very simple and I knew I wouldn't have a hard time of it. I only had to come into the office from Monday to Friday and only from ten 'til four, with a hour lunch break in the middle. So, it wasn't like I would be overworked.

At twelve thirty, Jacob came into the office from the main workshop.

"We can have an hour for lunch now. Do you want me to take you to the café?"

I smiled gratefully. "Yes please." As if to accentuate this request, my stomach rumbled loudly. I flushed red…embarrassing!

Jacob chuckled. Typical, he laughs at me, not with me. Sometimes, I don't know why I bother.

I followed him out the office and into the main garage. I saw Johnny's legs sticking out from beneath a car. Jacob called out to him and told him that we were going out for our lunch.

It was a nice day outside. The sky was a deep clear blue and the sun was beating down strongly. The café was at the opposite end of the street, so it didn't take long to get there.

Jacob held the door open for me, putting me slightly off with the gentleman-ly manners. We sat at a window table and studied the menu.

"What can I get you?" said a young male voice. I looked up from the menu. I saw two things. One, another gorgeous guy (seriously do they breed fit men here?), armed with a notepad and pen, waiting for my order, staring straight into my eyes. Two, Jacob was sitting ramrod straight, an ugly grimace on his face. If I didn't know any better, I could have sworn he was even growling deep down in his throat.

"Paul," said Jacob.

The guy looked at Jacob for the first time. "Jacob."

"Why are you here?"

"You know I work here." Paul said, with a cheeky amused smirk.

"I meant, why are you standing here, serving? We had a deal." Jacob was obviously annoyed, because he was talking through gritted teeth, not looking the guy in the eye.

"But Jake, you have company!" Paul said, turning his blazing green eyed gaze back to me.

I blushed. Wait…I blushed?! I realised I should probably say something. "Well, it's nice to meet you," I said eventually. Paul's gaze was burning me but I just couldn't look away either.

"As much as I am enjoying this little chat, I really think you should just take our order and go alright?" said Jacob.

I looked at him. Why did he hate this guy so much?

But Paul didn't look concerned at all. "Now, now Jacob. Control your temper!"

Jacob was gripping the table so tightly that his knuckles were stark white against his tanned skin.

"What can I get you Holly?" Paul asked me, turning his back to Jacob. I pointed out the salad I wanted. He wrote in down in his book. I watched him carefully. He finished writing down the order and his eye flicked up and caught my gaze. He winked at me and turned back to Jacob and got his order too. He left soon after that and I watched his retreating (muscular) back. I turned back to Jacob after Paul went through some double doors that I assumed led to the kitchen. It was only then that I turned my gaze back to Jacob. He was looking at me, a thoughtful look on his face. It faded quickly when he saw me looking at him.

"I'd forgotten you had already met Paul," said Jacob.

"Why do you hate him?" I asked boldly.

"Hate is a strong word," he said diplomatically. I could tell he was just stalling for time though.

I rolled my eyes. "Why do you hate him?" I repeated.

Jacob slightly squirmed in his seat. "I can't tell you right now."

I brightened. "You'll tell me later?"

"Later as in indefinite time period later, yes."

I scowled. "Fine."

There was a silence. I twiddled my thumbs, not really sure what to say after I had seen all that.

"So…what do you for fun around here?" I asked him after a little while longer.

He seemed relieved that I had dropped the previous subject because he grabbed onto the new conversation quickly. "Well, I do work at the garage a lot because I enjoy doing that. Then, if I'm not at the garage, then I'm at home working on more bikes. Or I hang out with Seth, Embry and Quil too. La Push isn't exactly the most exciting of towns really, is it?" He grinned ruefully. "I suppose it's quite different from where you used to live, isn't it?"

I laughed. "It's so different! Like, the amount of people who live in the whole of La Push is basically the amount of people who live in like two blocks in New York. It was really weird on the first day…you get really used to the noise of traffic and the people when you live in a big city, so when you go somewhere really quiet…it's like it's louder when it's silent than when it's louder. But I'm getting used to it now I think. So, you've always lived here then?"

Jacob nodded. "Yup, born and raised here. And so were all my family before that."

"Really? No-one has moved at all?"

"Nope. My family were Native American Indians, so my family tree in La Push can be traced really far back."

"Yeah, that makes sense, my dad is part American Indian too, right?"

"That's right. Your family and my dad's family were pretty close before he moved away," said Jacob.

"I find it weird how my dad moved away in the first place, if he loves this place so much," I mused, not really directing the question at Jacob. However, I could see his gaze turn slightly shifty when I mentioned this. I narrowed my eyes questioningly. "You know?"

"No, not really," said Jacob. "I mean, no, I really don't. It's none of my business anyway."

I shook my head, having none of it. "Jacob Black, what are you not telling me?"

Jacob gave a heavy, laboured sigh. "Look, it's just what I've heard from conversations, but I think it has something to do with your dad being with your mum."

There was a slightly uncomfortable silence. "Oh, right."

Jacob sighed. "I'm not supposed to know. I just heard our dad's talking about it one night. Basically, your dad's parents didn't want him to marry your mother. There was some sort of deal or something, but your dad had to move out of La Push if he wanted to marry her."

"Wow," I said quietly. "He must have loved her a lot to have moved out of his home for her, right?"

Jacob nodded sympathetically.

Our food came, but it wasn't Paul serving. "Now can you tell me why you hate Paul?"

Jacob rolled his eyes. "No."

I gave him puppy dog eyes and my bottom lip poked out.

He sighed. "Normally we agree to disagree and stay the hell away from each other. I don't like his attitude and he doesn't appreciate mine. So it's easier for everyone for us to stay away from each other."

I raised my eyebrows. "That sure sounds like hate to me."

"Maybe it is," said Jacob. "But if you take my advice, you'll stay away from him, okay?"

"He's that bad?"

Jacob nodded. "He doesn't care about what's best for other people. He just knows what he wants."